KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 ― 1Malaysia Development Berhad's (1MDB) financial records are currently being dressed to look good, Datuk A. Kadir Jasin alleged today, even as external auditors continue to pore over the firm's books in search of impropriety.
Kadir, a leading critic of the Najib administration, said despite the many allegations against 1MDB, the authorities checking its accounts may well be getting nowhere in their hunt for criminal deeds.
"The process of dressing up 1MDB’s book via creative accounting is in full swing. We hear such jargons as enterprise value, prudence and propriety being used to trap the uninitiated.
"The whole idea is to give the impression that everything is OK and above board," the former New Straits Times group chief editor wrote in his blog post today.
The situation, Kadir said, is reminiscent of other accounting-related scandals like that involving US firms Enron, Worldcom, Tyco, Freddie Mac and the American Insurance Group.
But in the case of 1MDB, whose records are now being scrutinised by at least four agencies ― the Auditor-General's Department, the police, Parliament's Public Accounts Committee and Bank Negara Malaysia ― Kadir repeated that it was not likely that the probe would unearth much.
"That is to be expected," he remarked.
"Be it the police, the MACC or the Auditor General, their boss is the PM. We cannot expect them to go against their boss," he said, referring Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission by its initials.
1MDB was incorporated in 2009, after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the decision to turn the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) state fund into a federal agency.
Since then, 1MDB has been dogged by negative publicity over its finances and reported RM42 billion debt that it amassed in the years since its inception.
The 1MDB mess has triggered calls for Najib to step down ahead of his term, a campaign that influential former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been zealously leading.
Dr Mahathir recently said that with Najib still in power, the investigation on 1MDB would not be carried out thoroughly.
In one of his recent blog posts on the controversy, Dr Mahathir even suggested that Najib take a leave of absence from the government and return only when and if he and 1MDB are cleared of wrongdoing.
Taking Dr Mahathir's cue today, Kadir said Malaysians should not place too much hope that guilty parties will be exposed and punished.
"Maybe one or two will be made scapegoats and be given a light slap on the wrist and removed from the board and management.
"The truth may not prevail instead the crusaders will be burnt at the stake," he said.